January 26, 2013

The Man In The Street Is Fed

One of my favorite poems from one of my favorite poets.

The man in the street it fed 
with lies in peace, gas in war,
and he may live now
just around the corner from you
trying to sell
the only thing he has to sell,
the power of his hand and brain
to labor for wages, for pay,
for cash of the realm.

And there are no takers, he can't connect.
Maybe he says, "Some pretty good men are on the street."
Maybe he says, "I'm just a palooka... all washed up."
Maybe he's a wild kid ready for his first stickup.
Maybe he's bummed a thousand miles and has a diploma.
Maybe he can take whatever the police can hand him,
Too many of him saying in their own wild way,
"The worst they can give you is lead in the guts."

Whatever the wild kids want to do they'll do
And whoever gives them ideas, faiths, slogans,
Whoever touches the bottom flares of them,
Connects with something prouder than all deaths
For they can live on hard corn and like it.
They are the original sons of the wild jackass
Crowned and clothed with what the Unknown Soldier had
If he went to his fate in a pride over all deaths.
Give them a cause and they are a living dynamite.
They are the game fighters who will die fighting.

Here and there a man in the street
is young, hard as nails,
cold with questions he asks
from his burning insides.

Bred in a motorized world of trial and error
He measures by millionths of an inch,
Knows ball bearings from spiral gearings,
Chain transmission, heat treatment of steel,
Speeds and feeds of automatic screw machines,
Having handled electric tools
With pistol grip and trigger switch.

Yet he can't connect and he can name thousands
Like himself idle amid plants also idle.
He studies the matter of what is justice
And revises himself on money, comfort, good name.
He doesn't know what he wants
And says when he gets it he'll know it.
He asks, "Why is this what it is?"
He asks, "Who is paying for this propaganda?"
He asks, "who owns the earth and why?"

Here and there a wife or sweetheart sees with him
The pity of being sold down the river in a smoke
Of confusions taken from the mouths of the dead
And spoken as though those dead are alive now
And would say now what they said then.

"Let him go as far as he likes," says one lawyer who sits on several heavy directorates.
"What do we care? Is he any of our business? If he knew how he could manage.
"There are exceptional cases, but where there is poverty you will generally
find they were improvident and lacking it thrift and industry.
"The system of free competition we now have has made America the
greatest and richest country on th face of the globe.
"You will seek in vain for any land where so large a number of people
have had so many of the good things of life.
"The malcontents who stir up class feeling and engender class hatred are
the foremost enemies of our republic and its constitutional government."

And so on and so on in further confusions taken from the mouths of the dead and
spoken as though those dead are alive now and would say now what they said then.
Like the form of a seen and unheard prowler,
Like a slow and cruel violence,
is the known unspoken menace:
Do what we tell you or go hungry;
listen to us or don't eat.

He walks and walks and wonders why he built the road.

Once I built a railroad
... now ...
brother, can you spare a dime?

To his dry well a man carried
all the water he could carry,
primed the pump, drew out the water,
and now
he has all the water he can carry.

We asked the cyclone
to go around our barn
but it didn't hear us.

-Carl Sandburg

January 24, 2013

Cold Mornings

Today the New Hampshire seacoast is 1 degree but with windchill it's down to -15. Not good news for someone who walks to work each morning, but luckily my coworkers have taken pity on me and offer to pick me up so I don't catch hypothermia and miss more work. Unfortunately there's no one to drive me to the grocery and I've been too lazy to walk there in this weather so the fridge is as bare as it's ever been. Maybe tonight I'll dawn my woolens and make the trek.

I got over that stomach bug I had last week but now have a head cold. I think the reality is that I've had a cold all winter but sometimes it gets overshadowed by something worse. If that's the case then this is the closest I've been to healthy since December. All my kids are sick and wanting to be cuddled constantly. My hips and neck are sore from them hanging on my and I've learned the age old mommy skill of living life one handed.

As cold as it is this morning I keep thinking that at this point last year I was still in the Jetta. Actually at this point last year I had just flown back from New Orleans where it was nice and toasty, but I then went through some wicked cold mornings in the go go gadget red car making me wish I was back in New Orleans for good. Oh well, when I start vehicle dwelling again I'm going to be smart and drive south for the winter months like Gypsy Jane.

January 17, 2013

Sick Again

I was sent home sick on Tuesday with a fever of 100 and spent yesterday with the worst stomach bug ever! I know, I had the flu last month and I'm sure some of you are wondering what what the heck is wrong with my immune system. In defense of my antibodies, I spend every day with nine tiny kids who are just learning how to blow their noses and want to be consistently hugged. I was thinking about getting a flu shot, but with everything that's going around this year I'm skeptical about how much it would actually protect me. Honestly it couldn't be any worse than catching every stray germ that waltzes through the school, so I should probably think about it.

My birthday was only four days ago and it feels like it never happened, which was kind of the point in not celebrating it. I am, however, trying to stay focused on the resolutions I made so I bought myself new strings for my violin and this nifty wall hanger so I don't have to unpack the instrument each time I want to play. I can just snatch it off the wall, play a few notes, and hang it back up. As for traveling I've become somewhat addicted to hotwire.com and have narrowed my potential destinations down to Copenhagen ($1100), Casablanca ($750), or Madrid ($1059). The Morocco trip has an 11 hour layover in Rome, which would be pretty nice, but I'm still debating. More to come!

January 13, 2013

29 Years Old

“The year you were born marks only your entry into the world. Other years where you prove your worth, they are the ones worth celebrating. 

― Jarod Kintz

Last year was the first birthday that I really felt like I'd made progress during the year. You can walk down memory lane and read about my 28th birthday (I know I did). This year with 30 bearing down on me, I get to once again evaluate the past year, much like all these talk shows did as we moved into 2013. I get to decide whether 29 was a good year or a waste of one. So here it goes:

I'm torn as to whether this was a productive year or not. Finishing college was big, but other than that I really haven't done that much. I'm racking my brain to recall some memorable events, but nothing comes to mind. I did go to New Orleans for the Teach NOLA interview, a position I would eventually decline, but that was so close to year 27 that it doesn't really count. Don't get me wrong, I'm having fun with my job and my home, but it is evident that I need to get out more. 

OK, so year 28 was not a resounding success quantity wise, but I like to think that the quality of the year was pretty high. I learned a lot and, after jumping out of college, managed to get my footing in the grown up world relativity quickly.

So, what are my birthday resolutions for year 29? Well, this is the last year of my 20s, which is a huge step. Yes, maybe it's one of those leaps that, in hind sight, will look like jumping over a stream instead of the Evil Kinevil Grand Canon stunt it appears to be now, but I'm going to let myself freak out for a while. Because this is the last year of my 20s I want to do something grand, just to set the stage for my 30s. 
  • I want to keep at the violin, no loosing focus!
  • I want to travel someplace. It's always been hard, what with my never having a real job (and therefore no money), but I want to go someplace like Denmark, just to say I've seen it.
  • I'm not sure how long I want to stay with this job, but I want to really push the envelope so, if I choose to leave, I will have something awesome to put on my resume.
  • I need to take two classes in NH to get my teaching certification, that's a must do ASAP
  • Most of all I want to do things, not just work. I'm not sure what I want to do, but I'm sure I can come up with a cooking class or volunteer work.
See? I can set goals!

January 12, 2013

The Last of 28

Be the Type of Person You Want to Meet.

Today is my last day to be 28 years old. So what am I going to do with this somewhat arbitrary landmark? Well, not much really.

I ordered new strings for my violin, not the top of the line but nice enough that I won't be frustrated by the tin sound of my current strings. That's my birthday gift to myself.

I'm going to take myself for a walk, maybe find a wonderful new book, and then I'm going to lay in bed reading for the rest of the day.

One year from now I'm sure I'll be hiding from 30, so this year I'm going to lay low and do some planning. What will I do with the last of my 20s?

Right now my only real plan is that I'm putting together a trip to Copenhagen for July. I can get a round trip flight and spend four nights in the city for about $1100, and I can't pass that up. Yes, I should be spending every penny to pay off debt, but, when I'm celebrating my 70th birthday I won't look back and regret not paying my bills, so I'm going to squirrel some mullah aside for my first real vacation.

I'm sure I'll think of other goals, with my birthday being so close to the new year I have belated resolutions.

It's already 10:30am so I'm off to meander the last of my 28th year away. 

January 1, 2013

Romahome Van

I may not live in a car anymore, but the cool gadgets and ingenuity of the lifestyle still makes my heart skip a beat. Check out this great van from Romahome, a company based in the UK. If you wanted to buy this R10 used it would cost around 17,000 pounds (which is about $27k these days), so it's an investment but really no more than a good car and it has all the gadgets!

Happy 2013

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, 
whispering 'it will be happier'...” 
― Alfred Tennyson

Congratulations gang, we made it through another year and came out the other side a little wiser. If nothing else, even if there was no growth in other areas of our lives, we must be a little wiser.

I absolutely hate the yearly changeover. Don't get me wrong, I think it can be helpful to have a goal, a set date that acts as both starting point and finish line, but each new year brings a new set of expectations and anxieties. It starts by thinking back to the previous January and the goals I set for myself. Usually it's not even a question of" did I reach my goal?" but instead "how long did my resolution last?" Did I stick with it for the whole winter or had I conveniently forgotten about it by February 1st?

Lucky for me I have a blog to reference when these questions of alibi come up. Last new year I didn't seem to make any resolutions for 2012. I spent the morning of the first having coffee with Tony, one of the panhandlers I use to see in Amherst Mass. In February I resolved to write more, but I really haven't been too good about that.

So, what are my 2013 resolutions? I can't decide whether to aim high and be satisfied with partial success or to aim low and be guaranteed to surprise myself. I want to get out more, I think that's my main resolution. Without a car I feel like my world is shrinking to a one mile radius and I hate that sensation. It's claustrophobic and I can't go through the year like this so, whether it means hitchhiking or buying a bike with snow tires, I'm going to spend 2013 in the great wide world.

Whatever other resolutions I have will be saved for my birthday, which is a mere 13 days away. I'll be 29 and it's usually then that I really begin to think about the year ahead. This is going to be a big one, the last year of my 20s, so get ready 2013, I have grand plans for you.